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Played
February 23, 2013 3:00 PM GMT
Emirates Stadium — London
Referee:‬ M. Atkinson‎
Attendance:‬ 60079‎
 
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa

The Gunners bounced back from Champions League heartache courtesy of two Santi Cazorla strikes to grab a much-needed victory over Paul Lambert's relegation-battling Villans

By Ewan Roberts at the Emirates Stadium

  • Wojciech Szczesny
    56
    156
    2.50

    Wojciech Szczesny

    Made a handful of good stops in the first half, but undone his good work when he let Weimann's long-range shot squirm past his hands. Solid otherwise.

  • Per Mertesacker
    125
    50
    3.00

    Per Mertesacker

    Relished the physical tussle with Benteke and did not wilt in the face of the towering Belgian's strength and power. Commanding in the air, but more worried by the pace of Villa's counterattacks.

  • Thomas Vermaelen
    145
    27
    3.00

    Thomas Vermaelen

    Controlled and composed at the back, carrying the ball out of defence with authority. Marshalled dangerman Benteke well, with the Belgian forward posing less of a threat than he usually does.

  • Monreal
    243
    12
    3.50

    Monreal

    Got forward with exuberance, and generally produced dangerous crosses when he ventured into the final third. Produced a brilliant pull-back for Cazorla's winner. Villa did have some joy breaking into the space he left, however.

  • Carl Jenkinson
    152
    35
    3.00

    Carl Jenkinson

    Matched the pace of Agbonlahor, never allowing the speedy Villa attacker to get past him. Got forward where possible, though his end product was often lacking and he didn't always link well with the rest of the side. Replaced with 15 minutes remaining by Podolski.

  • A. Diaby
    107
    78
    3.00

    A. Diaby

    Broke up play, won possession and drove forward. Bought steel and bite to the Arsenal midfield, though garnered groans and jeers from the home support whenever he played a backwards pass, which was often. Replaced with half an hour remaining.

  • Mikel Arteta
    78
    98
    2.50

    Mikel Arteta

    His passing, while as accurate as ever, was predominantly conservative. Never took risks with the ball, opting for ball retention over penetration.

  • Jack Wilshere
    259
    22
    3.50

    Jack Wilshere

    As is becoming the norm, Wilshere ran the show for Arsenal once again. He flittered into space, found gaps and broke past the Villa defence. His creativity and intelligence came to the fore when he dinked a pass behind the Villa back-line for Monreal, from which Arsenal scored their winner.

  • Santi Cazorla
    288
    16
    4.00

    Santi Cazorla Top of the Match

    Took both his goals well; collecting his own blocked cross and then firing a shot past Guzan for the first, before calmly slotting the ball past the American for his second. A creative, adventurous presence throughout the match.

  • Olivier Giroud
    59
    185
    2.00

    Olivier Giroud Flop of the Match

    A frustrating performance from the Frenchman, who regularly found himself in threatening positions but wasted the chances that fell his way, including one horroific slice wide of the near post. If Arsenal are to finish in the top four, he must find his shooting boots. Fast.

  • Theo Walcott
    55
    140
    2.50

    Theo Walcott

    A largely ineffective performance from Walcott, who struggled to get past Bennett and found himself deprived of the space he thrives in. Replaced in stoppage time by Koscielny.

Substitutions

  • Laurent Koscielny
    99
    26

    Laurent Koscielny

    Came on in stoppage time Walcott.

  • Aaron Ramsey
    129
    43
    3.00

    Aaron Ramsey

    Came on in place of Diaby with half an hour remaining. Brought more forward impetus and intent than the Frenchman, and played a hand in the winner.

  • Lukas Podolski
    162
    29
    3.00

    Lukas Podolski

    Replaced Jenkinson as Arsenal pushed forward late on, and had a glorious chance to grab a winner but couldn't connect with Walcott's cross. Brought some drive to Arsenal's attack.

  • Bradley Guzan
    29
    9
    3.00

    Bradley Guzan

    Solid and proactive, the American shot-stopper made few errors and exuded calmness behind an inexperienced defence. Might feel he could have done better with Cazorla's opener, but produced a stunning reflex save to deny Giroud.

  • Ciaran Clark
    16
    11
    3.00

    Ciaran Clark

    In the absence of Vlaar, Clark led the back-line admirably, organising a young defence. He tussled with Giroud, blocked shots and attacked every cross, though it was his weak block that allowed Cazorla to thump the home side into the lead.

  • Nathan Baker
    13
    10
    3.50

    Nathan Baker

    Made a number of important headed clearances, especially when competing with Giroud in the air. Like Clark, he threw his body in the way of shots and formed a solid wall that Arsenal struggled to break down.

  • Matthew Lowton
    11
    12
    2.50

    Matthew Lowton

    Wasn't comfortable with the infield movement of Cazorla and left too much space for Monreal to overlap into. Picked up a yellow card for an overzealous challenge after venturing high up the pitch.

  • Joseph Bennett
    13
    10
    3.00

    Joseph Bennett

    Lost Walcott on a couple of occasions, but generally recovered well and prevented the Arsenal forward from having any great impact on the match. Moved inside to aid his centre-halves well.

  • Charles N'Zogbia
    13
    13
    2.50

    Charles N'Zogbia

    Led Villa's many counterattacks, driving towards goal with tremendous pace and intent, but was often let down by poor end product. Worked tirelessly to close down Arsenal and was replaced by Dawkins with 10 minutes remaining.

  • Ashley Westwood
    7
    16
    2.50

    Ashley Westwood

    Worked hard in middle third, harassing and harrying, but was often forced to chase shadows against Arsenal’s interchanging and mobile midfield. Didn't keep the ball well. Replaced by El Ahmadi late on.

  • Fabian Delph
    10
    13
    3.00

    Fabian Delph

    Energetic and tenacious in the middle of the pitch, but, like midfield partner Westwood, always second best to the craft and artistry of Arsenal’s midfield talents. Congested and clogged the midfield, making life difficult for the home side.

  • C. Benteke
    20
    12
    2.50

    C. Benteke

    Not the nuissance he usually is. Often isolated, the big Belgian found little joy when double-teamed by the physical duo of Mertesacker and Vermaelen. Received little service or supply.

  • Andreas Weimann
    30
    10
    3.00

    Andreas Weimann

    Counterattacked well, like the rest of the Villa front-line, and worked very hard to close down space. Took his goal brilliantly, leading another break before firing a shot past Szczesny from long-range.

  • Gabriel Agbonlahor
    18
    16
    2.50

    Gabriel Agbonlahor

    A pacey outlet for Villa on the break, though was frustrated by the recovery and speed of Jenkinson. Worked hard defensively.

Substitutions

  • Karim El Ahmadi
    13
    10
    2.50

    Karim El Ahmadi

    Replaced Westwood and was a busy, combative presence, though offered little going forward.

  • Simon Dawkins
    9
    11

    Simon Dawkins

    Came on for N'Zogbia with ten minute remaining.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man Utd.
15 2